The history of the Bison Battalion dates back to 1862, with the formation of the Bucknell Guard, which saw action during the Civil War. Since then, Cadets from the Bison Battalion have been involved in the Spanish-American War, World War I and World War II.
During the Korean War, Bucknell University petitioned the Department of Defense to establish an official Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) unit on campus. The unit began in 1951 and commissioned its first officer in 1952.
In 1973, Susquehanna University became a partnership school with Bucknell. Their first commissioning took place in May of 1976. In 1974, Bloomsburg State College (now called Bloomsburg University) became a partnership school. Bloomsburg commissioned their first officer in May of 1976.
Together, these three schools make up the Bison Battalion, an organization that has earned respect throughout Cadet Command as an outstanding program. In 1990, 2004 and 2005, the battalion won the MacArthur Award from Cadet Command as the best small-school ROTC unit in the Eastern United States. In 2008, the Battalion was recognized for training one of the top two female cadets in the country. In 2009 and 2010 the program's junior cadets were ranked in the top 10 percent of the country.
Each year, the Bison Battalion commissions new Second Lieutenants to serve in either the Army, Army Reserve or National Guard.